Tweens typically want to get together with friends every day, but setting ground rules will help define what your tween can expect when she balances family time and her social calendar.

One mother sets clear expectations. "If my child asks to have a friend over with the friend standing next to her, the answer is always no." If her daughter asks ahead of time, she’ll consider it. This teaches the tween that if she attempts to manipulate Mom’s decision, the result is an automatic refusal.

To accommodate this need for friendships yet allow for family time and parents’ schedules, some families let children invite friends – one per child – to outings. Others alternate every Saturday between letting their tween have a friend over and going to a friend’s house.

Although parents may still need to be somewhat flexible, setting boundaries helps tweens learn to live more balanced lives that include rest and consideration for their parents’ time.

From Focus on Your Child’s Tween Ages, May 2008. Published by Focus on the Family. ©2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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